Does Ephesians 2:6 indicate that Christians go to heaven?
Let's understand exactly what this verse means. Ephesians 2:6 in the Authorized Version of the Bible says God "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." This verse is speaking of Christians now. Certainly we are not in heaven right now. Yet the verse says we are now sitting together in "heavenly places," whatever those are. The word heavenly in this verse is translated from the Greek word epouranios, which refers to something high or lofty. It does not have to refer specifically to heaven. Notice also that the word places is in italics. That means the word was not in the original Greek text, but was later added by translators. The verse literally says that we have been made, now, to "sit together in heavenly [or heavenlies] in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:6 is saying that with God's Spirit leading us, we look at things from God's point of view, setting our minds "on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2). We become "ambassadors for Christ" (II Corinthians 5:20), called out of this world as "a royal priesthood... His own special people" (I Peter 2:9), to teach and set the example of God's perfect way of life, which is so different from the way this world lives. We are, even now, in a relationship of high and lofty terms and conditions — we have indeed had the "heaven lies" opened to us! Ephesians 2:7 refers to what will happen in the future — "in the ages to come." When God's Kingdom is set up, we shall reign as kings and priests with Christ on earth (Revelation 5:10). Christ promises that we shall actually sit with Him on His throne on earth at that time (Revelation 3:21). Ephesians 2:6 in no way contradicts John 3:13 and dozens of other scriptures that prove conclusively that Christians do not go to heaven. For more information, send for our free booklet What Is the Reward of the Saved? Mail the literature request card in this issue or write to our address nearest you.
Where did Cain get his wife?
Notice Genesis 5:4: "After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he begot sons and daughters." Obviously Cain married one of his sisters — one of Adam's daughters — and Seth, Cain's brother, did likewise. Adam and Eve, as God proposed, were fruitful (Genesis 1:28). In today's world, when many couples are having no more than one or two children, it's hard for us to grasp how many children Adam and Eve probably had during their great span of life, nearly a thousand years. Adam lived almost one sixth of all the time from his creation until now. It was not wrong to marry a sister or a brother in the beginning — no physical harm would result. More than 2,000 years later, in the days of Abraham, a man could still marry a half sister. It was not until the days of Moses that God forbade brothers to marry their half sisters (Leviticus 18:6, 11). In pre-Flood days, when people lived for centuries, they did not age as we do today. They were able to continue bearing children, undoubtedly, for hundreds of years. After the Flood, because of living contrary to God's laws, the human life span became greatly shortened.
I've been taught that the Third Commandment is, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." But you say it's the Fourth. Why? I've read it in several articles and can't understand why your organization states that.
Remembering the Sabbath day is indeed the Third Commandment, according to the Roman Catholic and Lutheran enumeration. But according to the original enumeration in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, it is the Fourth. The Catholic and Lutheran numbering comes from virtually dropping the Second Commandment, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image... thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them..." (Exodus 20:4-6, Authorized Version). By omitting the Second Commandment from the Ten, the succeeding commandments become renumbered so that the Third becomes the Second and the Fourth becomes the Third, and so on. The Tenth Commandment is then divided into two separate commandments — coveting your neighbor's wife and coveting your neighbor's goods — to fill in the gap (My Catholic Faith, by Louis LaRavoire Morrow, page 194). The Bible, however, gives no precedent for dividing this one commandment into two. Jesus referred to just one commandment against coveting in Luke 12:15 and the apostle Paul wrote: "I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'You shall not covet'" (Romans 7:7). It is not logical to divide the first two points of the Tenth Commandment (coveting one's neighbor's house and coveting his wife) into two separate commandments while ignoring the four other items mentioned (manservant, maidservant, and donkey and ox). The overall principle of not coveting anything of one's neighbor's (the last point stated in the Tenth Commandment) adequately covers all potential situations (Exodus 20:17).